Winery Wedding Tips on Budget, Venue and Guests

Table of Contents

Vines of the Yarra Valley talks about Winery Wedding  Budget, the Venue and the Guests

You're engaged, you have that incredible bit of bling, you've celebrated with your family and friends and then the realisation sets in...

It's time to start planning your Big Day!

 

WHAT KIND OF WINERY WEDDING DO YOU WANT?

 

The winery wedding venue search is undoubtedly the first step, but before you rush into making this first and very important decision, you need to think about who you are as a couple and what's important to you about your wedding day.

Do you see yourselves having a casual or formal day, an intimate affair or lavish celebration…?

And what feeling or vibe do you both want for your day… Do you see yourselves having a Melbourne City wedding at Vogue Ballroom or a Classic and Elegant winery affair…?

If you're struggling to determine what kind of wedding you want then try gaining inspiration, hit the web, pick up some bridal magazines, fashion magazines and certainly take a peek through the eight style categories and see which venue vibes you're feeling!

Determining what you want at this stage of the planning process will ensure that your wedding is a personal reflection of you as a couple and will save you valuable time in the long run.

THE WEDDING VENUE

 

LIST YOUR WINERY RECEPTION REQUIREMENTS

Once you know the answers to the following questions, finding your perfect winery wedding venue will be that much easier!

Where geographically would you like to hold your wedding…? If you have your location narrowed down, for example, you'd like a wedding venue in Yarra Valley just out of Melbourne, then you can safely rule out anything further afield.

What date would you like to get married on…? If you have a particular date in mind, you may need to be flexible on the venue, or the time you're willing to wait to get married! Venues do book up in advance, and the average engagement is 14 – 18 months.

Think about the seasons – are you an Autumnal chick or more of a Summer belle…? High season months (July and August) will come at a premium, so certainly something to consider along with the style of wedding.

What day would you like to get married on…? Some venues only host weddings once a week or on certain days.

What time do you want your wedding to start and end…? If you're dreaming of partying until dawn, you might want to consider if they have a late licence or not. Also check the flexibility on this, as some venues can extend their licence with prior consent!

What kind of ceremony would you like to have…? If you'd like a religious ceremony rather than a civil wedding you will need to book your ceremony and reception venues separately. If you'd want your ceremony and reception in one place, then you need to check if your venue has a civil ceremony license and where you can and can't say your vows, as only certain rooms will be licensed.

Are you happy to use in-house or preferred suppliers, or do you want to bring in your own…? Some venues have a preferred suppliers list or in-house suppliers, ranging from caterers, florists, and entertainment! So it's important to ensure you're happy with the options on offer and that they fit within your budget.

Do you want to bring your own alcohol…? Check to see if the venue bar is in-house, external or whether they charge corkage.

Do you want a blank canvas venue or one that comes pre-styled…? And are you happy to plan, set up and style your wedding by yourself or are you hoping for help from the venue staff…? While some venues are fully staffed, others are venue hire only, which means you'll need to make all of your own arrangements and have people on site to set up on the day.

Do you need affordable accommodation onsite or nearby…? If the venue can't accommodate everyone, they will undoubtedly be able to recommend local options for your guests, so take notes when you visit! Check out the local area for things to do and see, your guests may want to make a weekend of it!

Do you want a marquee…? Some venues have the capacity for marquees and work with preferred suppliers, and some even have permanent marquees erected throughout the summer months. If you have your heart set on a marquee wedding then make sure it's a) an option and b) the style of marquee you want. From traditional pole style tents, through to yurts and tipis – there are lots of options!

 

RECEPTION GUESTS

wedding invitations instructions

WORK OUT NUMBERS

Start by drawing up a rough guest list to give you an idea of numbers, capacity can suddenly start to rule out certain venues.

If you're looking for an intimate ceremony for ten people you don't want to rattle around in a hall fit for 100. Similarly, if you have your heart set on a big, lavish wedding, you can safely rule out venues that can't accommodate your guest list.

 

YOUR WEDDING BUDGET - MONEY

DRAW UP A WEDDING RECEPTION BUDGET

Before you can commit to booking a venue, you need to know how much you can realistically spend.

If anyone has offered to contribute, now is the time to nail down the details!

Make a list of your incomings and outgoings and work out how much you can (and want to) save. Calculate the total projected savings plus any gifts from family, and you have your Big Day budget.

Deciding how much of your budget to allocate to your venue is another dilemma, and will depend on a lot of other factors, so you'll need to start prioritising early. This will mean sitting down as a couple and making some tough calls – what aspects of your wedding are most important… The food, the location, the venue, the music, the décor, the details…?

What's essential and what's nice to have…?

Budgets are a personal subject and something that should be considered with care, attention, and honesty. So whether you're a DIY Bride on a $10,000 budget or a Bride wanting the full fairytale works with a generous $50,000 budget, this post will help you think about what details are important to you and how to start to plan out your Wedding Day costs.

In the grand scheme of your wedding preparations, this might not seem like the most exciting of topics, but it is an absolutely essential element.

Without a proper budget, you could end up running out of funds before you've booked all of the suppliers that you need.

All too often couples shy away from sitting down and budgeting because they find it stressful or, they're not sure where to start, but once you know how to do it, it can be easy and then, even exciting to decide where your money goes.

So, to help you out, here's a step-by-step guide on budgeting for your Big Day…

MAKE A WEDDING SPREADSHEET

Personally, WE LOVE a good spreadsheet! However, I know my enthusiasm definitely isn't shared by all!

If the thought of opening up Excel fills you with dread, then don't put it off! It's the quickest and easiest way to keep all of your information together in an easy-to-scan format, as well as calculating your budget as you go.

Who's paying for the wedding?

The next step is to establish exactly who's paying for your wedding.

If your parents and/or relatives are contributing, now is the time to find out so that you can include it in the budget.

Before you accept any money make sure you have an open and honest chat about what is expected of you. While some parents are happy to consider the money as a gift, others might think of it as a stake in your Big Day and may have some requests of their own. It is essential at this stage to make sure that everyone is on the same page from day one to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Work out how much you can save

Whether you have a date in mind or you're waiting to see how long it will take you to save, you need to know how much you can put aside every month without compromising your quality of life.

Write down how much you both earn every month and then make a note of all your bills, regular payments and any extras. Then see how much is left over and add in any parental contributions.

Once you have that all important figure have a look at your outgoings and decide where you can reasonably cut back without having to live off baked beans until the wedding!

Set a Winery Wedding date

If you haven't done so already, now is the time to establish a rough date for your wedding. If you need to, then you can base this on how much you'd like to spend vs. how much you can reasonably save.

Another factor to consider is the season in which you'd like to get married. It's worth knowing that some suppliers give discounts on weddings outside of peak season (early autumn to spring), so if you don't have your heart set on a summer wedding, a beautiful autumnal celebration or a wonderful winter wedding could be the right choice for you.

Allocate your wedding reception budget

This is one of the hardest parts of budgeting for your wedding because many couples who are getting married for the first time don't know how much things cost. This is when a Partial Wedding Planning Service could come in handy as a wedding planner will know precisely what you can get for your money.

This will mean sitting down as a couple and making some tough calls – what aspects of your wedding are most important…? The food, the location, the venue, the music, the décor, the details…? What's essential and what's nice to have…?

This may involve some compromise, but once you have your priorities in order, allocating your budget will be that little bit easier.

Get quotes

Before you book suppliers, sign contracts or buy anything at all, make sure you get at least a couple of quotes from each type of supplier (and check whether or not they've included VAT in the quote, or if there are any hidden extras that can drastically alter the price).

That way you can see if the day you've planned is within reach, or if your numbers are off and you need to rethink.

Give yourself a contingency

Adding a contingency fund to your budget will ensure that if your wedding costs more than you thought it would, that you have sufficient funds to cover this.

Double check

Now is the time to double check your budget…

Have you forgotten the essentials…? Are there any extra elements, suppliers, etc. you've excluded that you think you'll worry about later down the line…? Have you underestimated how much the suppliers you really want might cost…?

Things can, and do, add up! So make sure that you're not left short by double checking all of your figures.

You've chosen your suppliers, you've checked your budget – now it's time to put down some deposits and spend!

Budgeting for your wedding can be a difficult process, but it can also be really positive and exciting as it's the first step to making your Big Day happen!

If you're struggling to put together a budget, or need help with anything else, then please do have a look at my wedding planning services.

Have you done all of the above but still finding you're running over budget – let's dig a little deeper?

 

Decide what's most important to you

This will mean sitting down as a couple and making some tough calls – what aspects of your wedding are most important…the food, the alcohol, the music, the décor, the details…? What's essential and what's nice to have…?

This may involve some compromise, but once you have your priorities in order, cut costs on those items that are lowest on your priority list.

Allocate your money where guests spend time

Think about where your guests are going to spend the majority of their time and then cut back on costs elsewhere.

Cut the Guest List

I know this is a tough one but cutting your guest list is the most effective way of reducing your budget.

I could pretty much write a whole blog post on how to cut a guest list but for the sake of this post my best piece of advice when it comes to cutting numbers is to set yourself ground rules and stick to them.

Choose local, seasonal and less expensive flowers

Choosing local and seasonal flowers can make a HUGE difference to your budget.

We've included 23 of Yarra Valleys Best Flower Shops

If you want to reduce your floral budget even further then talk to your florist about less expensive flowers, foliage, and fillers.

Reduce your food costs

There are plenty of possibilities when it comes to cutting your overall food bill, for example…

Reduce the number of courses you offer your guests, but increase the number and size of your canapés.

Instead of a formal sit-down dinner, you could opt for a hog roast, BBQ, street food, etc.

Look at alternatives to the traditional wedding cake, i.e. a cheese tower, ice cream parlour, naked cake, etc.

However, when it comes to cutting your food bill, it is essential to still ensure that your guests have enough food! After all, I personally believe that having enough food and drink is a crucial ingredient to creating the perfect wedding.

Reduce your alcohol costs

Like food, there are plenty of possibilities when it comes to cutting your overall drinks bill, for example…

Instead of a full open bar just provide a few signature drinks, house wines, and beers. Spirits and shots can often drive up the cost.

If you're providing your own alcohol or stocking your own bar, do your research early as this will increase your chances of being able to buy your preferred options at sale prices.

If you can't negotiate the corkage fee out of your contract entirely, at least discuss lowering it.

If you decide not to have an open bar, then don't be afraid to ask your guests to pay for some of their drinks. Your friends and family will understand…

Band vs. DJ

If you haven't got your heart set on a live band, then book a DJ instead. On average a DJ is at least half the price of a live band of the same calibre.

Negotiate!

Once you have gathered quotes from your wedding suppliers, chat with them about whether there is room for maneuver.

BUT… Be realistic with your negotiations, after all, they are running a business. If a supplier cannot reduce costs, then ask them whether they can include anything extra in their package instead.

You've drawn up your budget, you've looked at ways to cut costs, and you've started planning your Big Day. It all sounds pretty straightforward so far, but in reality, it is all too easy to lose track of your budget, especially in the final few weeks leading up to your Big Day.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer a few pointers on how to stay within budget!

Track your budget spreadsheet every step of the way and refer back to it before you make any commitments or payments.

If possible, put all of your wedding money into one account. That way you can easily monitor any additions or withdrawals.

Give yourself a contingency – adding a contingency fund to your budget will ensure that if your wedding costs more than you thought it would, that you have sufficient funds to cover this. The contingency will also ensure that you are covered for any unforeseen costs, i.e. weather-related expenses.

Before you spend money on something that wasn't in your original budget ask yourself this – is it essential, is it going to make a difference, will your guests notice it and are they going to appreciate it…?

Stay true to your creative vision, who you are, what you want and what's important to you. After all, there are always going to be infinite possibilities and finite resources… Bottom line, you can't do it all.

If you are struggling with your budget then hiring a wedding planner could help. Yes, there will be an added expense involved, but an experienced wedding planner will be able to save you money through industry connections and negotiations, ensuring that your budget goes as far as possible!

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